Kevin Ballard

Kevin BallardAssociate Professor

27 Phillips Hall

Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Connecticut, Nutritional Sciences
Ph.D., University of Connecticut, Kinesiology
M.S., University of Louisville, Exercise Physiology
B.S., University of Louisville, Health and Human Performance

Curriculum Vitae

Scholarly Interests

My scholarship focuses on the interactions among physical activity, nutrition, vascular function, and glucose tolerance in healthy and clinical populations. Studies published by myself and other investigators in the field have demonstrated that lifestyle strategies (e.g., physical activity, dietary manipulation, smoking cessation) improve indices of vascular function and/or glucose tolerance. Improvements in oxidative stress and pro-inflammatory responses may underlie the beneficial cardiometabolic effects produced by healthy lifestyle practices. Individuals spend the majority of their day in a postprandial state, the brief time period following a meal. Metabolic disturbances occurring postprandially (e.g., postprandial hyperglycemia) transiently impair vascular function (Mah E, et al. J Nutr. 2011; Ballard KD, et al. J Nutr. 2013) and better predict cardiovascular-related morbidity and mortality compared to fasting levels. Therefore, a particular focus of my scholarship utilizes physical activity and dietary strategies to mitigate postprandial metabolic responses that contribute to vascular dysfunction.

In pursuit of my scholarly agenda, I have established a cardiometabolic lab within the Department of Kinesiology, Nutrition and Health. Research in the cardiometabolic lab focuses on exploring mechanisms responsible for lifestyle-mediated improvements in vascular function and glucose tolerance. For example, we recently published data in overweight and obese adults examining the influence of a single bout of aerobic or resistance exercise performed the evening prior to an oral glucose tolerance test on postprandial vascular function responses (Ballard KD, et al. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2019). Future studies are planned to examine the efficacy of various strategies, including the timing of prior exercise and the combination of exercise and dietary alterations, to attenuate adverse postprandial vascular effects and advance our understanding of effective lifestyle strategies to lower chronic disease risk. Further, recent data from our laboratory in healthy adults show that a 1 day reduction of habitual physical activity (i.e., short-term physical inactivity) increased the postprandial insulin response to an oral glucose tolerance test compared to a 1 day increase of habitual physical activity (Timmerman KL, Ballard KD, et al. Int J Sports Med. 2018).

An emerging area of research is the impact of physical inactivity on vascular function. Sedentary behavior, particularly increased daily sitting time, is common in modern society and is on the rise. Consistent with scientific evidence that increased daily sitting time is directly associated with chronic disease risk, recent controlled studies conducted by my lab and others show that prolonged sitting impairs vascular function. Specifically, my research group published data showing that three hours of prolonged sitting (a model of physical inactivity) decreased superficial femoral artery flow-mediated dilation in healthy men, independent of systemic changes in biomarkers related to vascular function (i.e., oxidative stress, nitric oxide bioavailability, endothelin-1) (Ballard KD, et al. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2017). This study was the first to report specific circulating biomarkers underlying sitting-induced vascular dysfunction and suggests that longer durations of physical inactivity and/or studies in clinical populations are warranted to better understand the mechanisms by which physical inactivity impairs vascular function. A better understanding of these mechanisms is clinically important due to the increased susceptibility of the leg vasculature to atherosclerosis and will lead to the development of preventive strategies to mitigate physical inactivity-induced vascular dysfunction and decrease cardiovascular disease risk.

Undergraduate and graduate students have been very active in all aspects of my research program. Students under my supervision have gained significant experience in laboratory techniques, study design, data acquisition, analysis, and presentation.

Courses Taught

KNH 382: Physical Activity and Fitness Assessment
KNH 442/542: Strength Training and Conditioning
KNH 468/568: Physiology of Exercise and Physical Activity
KNH 482: Exercise Prescription
KNH 621: Research Foundations in Kinesiology and Health
KNH 668: Advanced Physiology and Biophysics of Human Activity

Certifications and Honors

President-Elect, Midwest Chapter of the American College of Sports Medicine (elected 2022 for three year term)
Faculty Learning Community Member, Alumni Teaching Scholars (2019-2020)
Faculty Learning Community Member, Evaluating the Effectiveness of Course Evaluations for Formative and Summative Instructional Improvement (2021-2022)
Nominated for E. Phillips Knox Distinguished Teaching Award (2020)
NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist
Fellow, American College of Sports Medicine

Recent Publications

Ballard, K.D., Timsina, R., Timmerman, K.L. Influence of Time of Day and Intermittent Aerobic Exercise on Vascular Function and Plasma Endothelin-1 in Healthy Adults. Chronobiology International. 2021 Apr 6;1-8 (online ahead of print).

Timmerman, K.L., Ballard, K.D., Deal, M.A., Tagariello, L.C., Karrow, J.M., Volk, G.A., Meisler, A., Connors, I.D., Mott, R.E. Associations Among Physical Activity Level and Skeletal Muscle Antioxidants in Older Adults. Journal of Physical Activity and Health. 2020 Aug 12;1-7 (online ahead of print).

Ballard, K.D., Berry, C.W., Varty, C.J., Arslain, K.B., Timmerman, K.L. Aerobic or Resistance Exercise Performed the Previous Day Does Not Attenuate Postprandial Hyperglycemia-Induced Endothelial Dysfunction in Overweight/Obese Adults. European Journal of Applied Physiology. 2019;119(8):1855-63.

Zaleski, A.L., Panza, G.A., Ballard, K.D., Adams, W., Hosokawa, Y., Pescatello, L.S., Thompson, P.D., Taylor, B.A. The Influence of Compression Socks During a Marathon on Exercise-Associated Muscle Damage. Journal of Sport Rehabilitation. 2019;29(7):724-28.

Timmerman, K.L.#, Ballard, K.D.#, Volk, G.A., Deal, M.A., Meisler, A.J., Karrow, J.M., Good, A.P., Reynolds, S.T. (#Equal contribution). Altering Physical Activity Influences Insulin Responses to Glucose Ingestion. International Journal of Sports Medicine. 39(13):972-977, 2018.

Fernandez, A.B., Ballard, K.D., Guo, M., Wong, T.Y., Klein, R., Thompson, P.D., Cotch, M.F., McClelland, R.L., Klein, B., Allison, M., Burke, G. Age-Related Macular Degeneration and Progression of Coronary Artery Calcium: The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis. PLoS One. 2018 Jul 18;13(7):e0201000.

Zhong, F., Mengyang, X., Bruno, R.S., Ballard, K.D., Zhang, J., Zhu, J. Comparative Metabolomics Elucidates Postprandial Metabolic Modifications in Plasma of Obese Individuals with Metabolic Syndrome. Journal of Proteome Research. 17(8):2850-2860, 2018.

Taylor, B.A., Panza, G.A., Ballard, K.D., White, C.W., Thompson, P.D. Creatine Supplementation Does Not Alter the Creatine Kinase Response to Eccentric Exercise in Healthy Adults on Atorvastatin. Journal of Clinical Lipidology. Journal of Clinical Lipidology. 2018;12:51305-1312.

Bhanpuri, N., Hallberg, S., McKenzie, A.L., Ballard, K.D., Campbell, W.W., Phinney, S.D., Volek, J.S. Lipid and Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factor Response to a Type 2 Diabetes Care Model Including Nutritional Ketosis at One Year. Cardiovascular Diabetology. 17(1):56, 2018.

McDonald, J.D., Chitchumroonchokchai, C., Jinhui, L., Mah, E., Labyk, A., Reverri, E., Ballard, K.D., Volek, J.S., Bruno, R.S. Replacing Carbohydrate During a Glucose Challenge with the Egg White Portion of Whole Eggs Protects Against Postprandial Impairments in Vascular Endothelial Function in Prediabetic Men by Limiting Increase in Glycemia and Lipid Peroxidation. British Journal of Nutrition. 119(3):259-270, 2018.

Taylor, B.A., Zaleski, A.L., Ballard, K.D., Panza, G.A., Fernandez, A.B., Corso, L., Pescatello, L.S., Baggish, A.L., Troyanos, C., and Thompson, P.D. Compression Socks Worn During Flight and Hemostatic Balance in Boston Marathon Runners on Oral Contraceptives. Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine. 2018;28(3):278-283.

Ballard, K.D., Duguid, R.M., Berry, C.W., Dey, P., Bruno, R.S., Ward, R.M., Timmerman, K.L. Effects of Prior Aerobic Exercise on Sitting-Induced Vascular Dysfunction in Healthy Men. European Journal of Applied Physiology. 117(2):2509-2518, 2017.

Taylor, B.A., Zaleski, A.L., Ballard, K.D., Panza, G.A., Fernandez, A.B., Corso, L., Pescatello, L.S., Baggish, A.L., Troyanos, C., and Thompson, P.D. Compression Socks Worn During Flight and Hemostatic Balance in Boston Marathon Runners on Oral Contraceptives. Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine. 2017 Jul 21 [Epub ahead of print].

Zhong, F., Xu, M., Bruno, R.S., Ballard, K.D., and Zhu, J. Targeted HPLC-MS/MS Metabolomics Differentiates Metabolic Syndrome from Obesity. Experimental Biology and Medicine. 242(7):773-780, 2017.

Ballard, K.D., Gregory, S.M., Taylor, B.A., Thompson, P.D. Short-Term Cessation of Statin Therapy Does Not Alter Aerobic Exercise Performance in Physically Active Older Adults. The Physician and Sportsmedicine. 44(1):63-7, 2016.

Ballard, K.D. and Bruno R.S. Protective Role of Dairy and its Constituents on Vascular Function Independent of Blood Pressure-Lowering Activities. Nutrition Reviews. 73(1):36-50, 2015.

Zaleski, A.L., Ballard, K.D., Panza, G.P., Kupchak, B.R., Dada, M.R., Roman W., Thompson, P.D., Taylor, B.A. The Effect of Compression Socks on Deep Vein Thrombosis Risk in Marathon Runners. The Physician and Sportsmedicine. 43(4):336-41, 2015.

Sanders, K., Maresh, C.M., Ballard, K.D., Creighton, B.C., Pryor, J.L., Kraemer, W.J., Volek, J.S., Anderson, J.M. Habitual Exercise May Maintain Endothelium-Dependent Dilation in Overweight Postmenopausal Women. Journal of Aging and Physical Activity. 23(1):40-46, 2015.

Taylor, B.A., Zaleski, A.L., Capizzi, J.A., Ballard, K.D., Troyanos, C., Baggish, A.L., D’Hemecourt, P.A., Dada, M., Thompson, P.D. Influence of Chronic Exercise on Carotid Atherosclerosis in Marathon Runners. BMJ Open. 4(2):e004498, 2014.

Ballard, K.D., Quann, E.E., Kupchak, B.R., Volk, B.M., Kawiecki, D.M., Fernandez, M.L., Seip, R.L., Kraemer, W.J., Maresh, C.M., Volek, J.S. Dietary Carbohydrate Restriction Improves Blood Pressure, Microvascular Function, and Cellular Adhesion Molecules in Individuals Taking Statins. Nutrition Research. 33(11):905-912, 2013.

Ballard, K.D., Mah, E., Guo, Y., Pei, R., Volek, J.S., Bruno, R.S. Low-Fat Milk Ingestion Prevents Postprandial Hyperglycemia-Mediated Impairments in Vascular Endothelial Dysfunction in Obese Individuals with Metabolic Syndrome. Journal of Nutrition. 143(10):1602-1610, 2013.

Book Chapters

Armstrong, L.E., Ganio, M.S., and Ballard, K.D. Considerations for Exercise in Stressful Environments: Hot, Cold, High Altitude and Polluted Air. In: American College of Sports Medicine’s Clinical Exercise Physiology, 1st edition. Thompson, W.R. (Ed.). Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Baltimore, MD, 2019.

Volek, J.S., Ballard, K.D., and Forsythe, C.E. An Overview of Creatine Metabolism. In: Essentials of Creatine in Sports and Health. Stout, J.R., Antonio, J., Kalman, D. (Eds.) Humana Press, Totowa, NJ, 2007.

Recent Grants

Effects of Diurnal Variation and Acute Exercise on Indices of Vascular Endothelial Function in Young Adults. Miami University College of Education, Health, and Society Research Seed Grant ($5,000). 2019.

Effect of Excess Body Mass and Different Exercise Modalities on Plasma Endothelin-1 Levels in Young Adults. Miami University Undergraduate Research Award ($1,000). 2018.

Non-Invasive Technology to Assess Cardiovascular and Cerebral Health and Function. Miami University Student Technology Fee Proposal ($27,000). 2018.

Non-Invasive Technology to Measure Cardiovascular Responses and Adaptations to Exercise. Miami University Student Technology Fee Proposal ($9,452). 2017.

Effects of Different Exercise Modalities on Postprandial Vascular Endothelial Function in Overweight and Obese Adults. College of Education, Health, & Society Research Seed Grant ($4,500) and Committee for Faculty Research ($3,000). 2017. 

Prior Aerobic Exercise to Attenuate Vascular Dysfunction Induced by Prolonged Sitting in Healthy Men. College of Education, Health, & Society Research Seed Grant ($4,500). 2016.


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In the News

Exercise Science. Move More. Live Longer - with Kyle Timmerman and Kevin Ballard

Everybody knows that exercise is good. But that is not the whole story. It’s not just that exercise is good. It’s also that not exercising is actually so much worse. A general lack of physical activity can lead to many diseases and even cancer.

So in this podcast episode, we speak with Kyle Timmerman and Kevin Ballard. Two accomplished exercise science researchers who have just been named Fellows in the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). Their work explores the mechanisms behind exercise science and how living a much healthier life might not actually be that hard for most people.